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Challenging times for students returning to school

Challenging times for students returning to school

This Monday 785,000 students will return to school to face term three. A new study shows that two thirds of those surveyed could find the return daunting.
A study by GirlGuiding New Zealand of 4365 girls between the ages of seven and 17 found school pressures dominated the daily concerns of young women in New Zealand.

Doing well in school was one of the top three concerns of those surveyed. More than a third said there was “a lot” of pressure on them to do well in school (39%). This stress increased with age, with almost half - 47% - of 16-17-year-olds feeling pressure to succeed.

Year 13 student and GirlGuiding New Zealand Ranger Advocacy Panel member Shania Lahina agrees that pressure to perform well at school dominates the lives of young people.

“For me, this pressure doesn’t come from my parents or teachers, it comes from my peer group. There is real fear of failure amongst my classmates.”
She said young women feel pressured to be actively involved in school life through sports and cultural activities.

“This feeling of pressure increases in Year 13 as these extracurricular involvements will help us to get into a preferred university or receive scholarships. Coupled with an increased academic workload the pressure to achieve in all areas can be overwhelming”.

One reason for the concern of performance at school was revealed in a previously released section of the survey. It showed that New Zealand girls overwhelmingly aspire to do well in life. Their role models are those who appear to have become successful due to hard work and determination.

“The survey has highlighted a need for Kiwi girls like myself to understand life balance; success for yourself might be an Achieved grade – while for a peer it might be an Excellence mark. Trying your best should be what really matters” said Shania.

GirlGuiding New Zealand is working with New Zealand girls to provide an outlet away from these stresses, with a programme that includes outdoor activities and adventures, camping, community action projects, life skills, and leadership opportunities.

The What Matters study by GirlGuiding New Zealand also looked at role models, body image, mental health, and acceptance. A summary of the research is available on the GirlGuiding NZ website:

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